Now, there is a simple solution to this problem, but I've come to accept that this is just how its going to work for now...
Nearly every school day morning I wake up peaceful and happy, but transform into a command barking, fast-moving, 2-inches away from losing-it, threatening, begging and pleading, drill sargeant who adds "honey" and "sweetie" to the end of the orders and commands.
Our day starts by a sweet little boy popping into our room and announcing directly into my face, "Mommy! Its 7 o'clock!" (He's not allowed to get out of bed until the digital clock in his room reads 7:00 and he waits with great anticipation every morning for that 7 to pop up there). I then coerce him to cuddle for just a few minutes, which never works for more than 1 minute because he's a 6 year old boy who makes a lot of weird noises and moves around more like a jumping bean than something that wants to cuddle. I finally realize that I'd be more comfortable walking around in my bathrobe than laying in bed with this dude and get up and wrap myself in my robe, or what I like to call "the blanket that I wear". I LOVE my robe. I seriously would wear it all day every day if I could. Its big and soft and fluffy and cozy and I love it. I then head to the bathroom and brush my teeth (usually forgetting to look in the mirror at this point). Its only about 7:15am at this time and this is when the crazy begins.
Walking into the boy's room, I quickly try to remember the weather forecast and pick some clothes out accordingly. He does not care what he wears. I toss pants, shirt, socks and shoes onto the foot of his bed and sweetly tell him to come and get dressed. Today, he gets to wear his shirt that looks like it is a remote control and he is thrilled and loudly squeals, "My remote control shirt!" Pretty sure this wakes his sister up. I walk out of his room and into the girl's room and find her sweetly laying in bed with her eye-mask on that reads "Do Not Disturb". Did I mention that she's 7? I snuck in while she was asleep last night and removed this eye-mask from her eyes and hung it on her bedpost, so I'm slightly surprised to see it on her. Her morning greeting to me is, "Why was my eye-mask gone when I woke up in the middle of the night? I searched and searched and finally found it and then went back to sleep." The girl has a sty on her left eye right now (my theory is that its caused by the eye mask) and I had removed it last night while she was sleeping because she's convinced she can't sleep without it and I'm convinced that its not good for that sty to be under there all night long. Compromise? I quickly find some clothes for her that won't make her hot because heaven forbid that she might get a little hot by the end of the school day. Leggings, skirt and short-sleeved t-shirt should do the trick (NEVER, EVER ask the girl to wear long sleeves or the morning craziness escalates dramatically). Thinking that its time to head in to the kitchen and make breakfast, I swing by to check on the progress of the boy....he's missing in action and all clothes (including his PJ's that he was previously wearing) are in his bedroom at this point, but he is not in sight. He's on the potty. "Get off the toilet!" is something that I never thought I would say 12 times each day, but it is a common phrase frequently uttered by every member of our family except Jude. I persuade him to get off the potty and head back to his room to get dressed. Noelle is quietly dressing and I head off to make a healthy, gluten-free breakfast to fill their tummy's for a productive day at school. At this point, I'm still hopeful that the morning is going to go off without a hitch. Its 7:25am and we have 5 minutes before our neighbor girl that we watch in the morning and walk to school arrives. The "hurry-up" command is spouted a few times and the threat that Carly is coming and you don't want her to see you naked is usually a good incentive to get the munchkins moving faster.
Surprisingly, Jude is the first one to the kitchen this morning. I hand him a yogurt and spoon and tell him to sit down and eat while I make eggs. He doesn't want eggs, but I'm making them anyway. He does want bacon, so I quickly put some bacon in the oven and return to making eggs. Noelle is no where in sight. Eggs are cooked and plated, yogurt is finished just as Carly arrives and Noelle has yet to be seen, but has been called for at least 3 times. She finally calls out, "Just a minute!" (sweetly, not quite like a teenager yet, but her tone makes me think she must be doing something productive). She finally appears and when I ask her what she was doing she casually replies, "Just laying on the bed." Hmm...this does not help mommy's anxiety level. I need her to sit down and eat so I can quiz her on her spelling words, brush her hair and pack her lunch and gather her belongings for school all at the same time. Multi-tasking.
Jude won't touch his eggs. I squirt a bunch of ketchup (organic, so its good for him, right?) onto the eggs and he finally digs in. I pack a lunch for Noelle and head over to brush her hair which she has decided this week that it has needed to be in a low ponytail in the back with a side part in the front and her bangs pinned to the side with a clip. Easy. Noelle declares that she can't eat while I brush her hair and I remind her that's not true because yesterday she begged me to brush her hair while she was eating because Carly had laughed at her crazy bed-head. Its 7:45 and we have 15 min until we have to leave.
Bacon comes out of the oven and hubby comes through the kitchen showered, dressed and groomed. How is that possible when he was still in bed when I got up? I am still in my fluffy blanket/robe and haven't looked in the mirror, but have clean teeth.
Jude is done with breakfast and I send him to brush his teeth. Noelle is slowly eating (Is she eating at all?) and I am trying to help her remember that you always need a "u" after a "q" and how to spell the word "plaque" while packing up her backpack with homework folder, lunch and water bottle. A questionable book is found at the bottom of her backpack and Mommy secretly whisks it away, but forgets to hide it and leaves in right on the kitchen counter. Spelling practice is over, some food has finally been eaten and I am buzzing all around trying to make sure everyone is looking appropriate to walk out in public forgetting that I have yet to get dressed. Its 7:55am. Time for Noelle to brush her teeth. Upon arriving in the bathroom, we discover that Jude is again on the toilet and has yet to brush his teeth. "Jude! Get off the toilet and brush your teeth!" I grab a wash cloth to wash breakfast off of his face while he's still sitting on the potty forgetting that he's going to get all messy again in about 30 seconds when toothpaste is inevitably smeared all over his face. Finally, teeth are brushed and the orders to "put on your coats, grab your backpack and bookbag" are blurted out. I quickly run to my room as I hear another knock on the door and another neighbor girl arrives to walk to school with us. I throw on yesterdays jeans that are on the floor and grab a t-shirt from the dresser and put it on covering it up (hiding the ugly shirt) with my coat and a scarf (yes, we still wear scarves in California, but mostly as an accessory) and pull on my uggs as I'm rushing the kids out the door. But we can't leave yet. Noelle has spotted the questionable book that I've discreetly (not so much) left laying on the counter and tries to beg/argue for it back. Mommy has almost had it and trying to maintain some level of grace points out all of the reasons we are not going to be reading that book anymore (also having to somewhat convince the husband of these same things) as 2 neighbor kids watch it all unfold. We are now running late. Pushing the kids out the door the conversation continues as the 3rd grade girl proudly tells us (brags) that she's allowed to read this particular series of books and I really don't care except that its making Noelle even more sad and persistent about it. This also seems to make all 5 children that are walking with us move very slowly or maybe it just seemed that way because someone was ALWAYS cutting me off (I seriously almost tripped over a child at least a dozen times) the entire walk to school.
We're on our way and its 8:05. I briefly looked in the mirror before I left, pulled my hair into a messy bun/blobby ponytail and noticed the dark remnants of yesterdays mascara under my eyes. I was relieved to see it was sunny out which means I can wear sunglasses and save myself the 15 seconds it would take to wash my face. About 4 minutes into our 7 minute walk to school, Noelle announces that she has to go to the bathroom and won't make it to class first. It takes a minute to convince her that she can make it to the school restroom. We drop 3rd grade neighbor off immediately as we walk onto the school grounds. The rest of the kids are scattered around the campus and the one who needs to be dropped off earliest (Jude's class starts at 8:15am and everyone else start at 8:20) is obviously the one that's classroom is farthest away. We rush to get Jude in his class, coat off, bag hung-up and in his seat before Noelle loses it. She tosses me her backpack (which she started carrying with one strap instead of two this week!) and runs to the potty telling me she'll meet me in front of her class. I quickly take 2nd grade neighbor Carly to her classroom, but she's decided this is the perfect time to walk. As. Slowly. As. Possible. Finally, her classroom is in sight and she walks in without even saying goodbye to me. Suddenly, I hear a loud "Mommy!!" and see Noelle running full speed towards me. She grabs her bag and then my hand and we finally saunter towards her class. I kiss her goodbye and realize that the coffee that I microwaved from yesterdays leftovers and have been carrying this entire time and have not yet been able to drink has, at some point, spilled on my sleeve. Oh, but I have have coffee! I take a sip and start to mozy towards home. I should feel relieved, but instead I feel slightly sad and lonely. I hate dropping my kids off at school. I want them with me. I like them. As I walk home and pray for Noelle and Jude and drink my coffee in the quiet, I know I should be enjoying the peace, but I'm missing the crazy. My heart leaps when I realize that today is Friday, which means I have to be back in Jude's Kindergarten class in less than an hour to help with crafts. Kindergarteners doing crafts on Friday is chaos. I'll be just fine...
*The "questionable book" is a series called "Ook and Gluk" and I'm just not sure if I like her reading them yet. They are funny and full of potty humor (which I love) but don't love my 7 year old laughing at quite yet. Anyone else know about these and have insight?